Stockton Lake has quietly become one of the best fisheries in Missouri, offering some of the finest crappie and walleye fishing, as well as white bass and black bass. One little known fact is that Stockton holds the current smallmouth bass state record set in 1984 of seven pounds, two ounces, caught by Kevin S. Clingan of Springfield.
Since Stockton was formed in 1969 by the damming of the Sac River near the city of Stockton, it is younger than most lakes in the state. Its shores are undeveloped, for the most part, and underwater structures are still in place for fish habitat. This has been key to Stockton's ability to grow lots of crappie to legal size. When most lakes stop yielding crappie in the summer and fall months, anglers are still catching them on Stockton, day and night.
The one thing striking about this Missouri lake is the lack of development along its shores. There are a few pockets of activity including private and public docks, campgrounds and public accesses but there are no condominiums, no resorts, no timeshare developments, hardly any homes within view of the water. This is truly amazing in this age of water recreation.
The lake is relatively shallow which scares off big cabin cruisers you'd see on bigger lakes in Missouri. You really need to keep an eye on the depth finder because open water doesn't mean deep water on Stockton.
Elevation, feet above mean sea level
Top flood control pool: 892 feet
Top multi-purpose pool: 867 feet
Surface area, acres
Top flood control: 38,300 ac.
Top multi-purpose: 24,900 ac.
Drainage area (square miles): 1,160
Shoreline miles: 298
- Cedar Ridge
- Crabtree Cove
- Hawker Point
- Mutton Creek Group Camp
- Orleans Trail North and South
- Ruark Bluff East and West
Bass, black (largemouth), smallmouth and spotted bass (kentuckies)- 15-inch length limit, 6 daily, 12 possession.
White bass, striper, hybrid bass- 15 total daily (only 4- 18 inches or longer can be kept in a daily limit), 30 possession
Rock bass (goggleye) - no length limit, 15 daily, 30 possession.
Crappie, white or black - 10-inch length limit, 15 daily, 30 possession.
Bluegill - no limit
Catfish - no length limit, 10 daily (only 5 can be flatheads in a daily limit), 20 possession.
Walleye - 15 inch minimum length, 4 daily, 8 possession.
Spoonbill - 2 daily between March 15 and April 30. Length - 34 inches between the eye to the fork of the tail minimum.
Non-Game fish - Snagging, snaring and grabbing are allowed from 3/15 - 4/30 only.
Fishing Licenses -
Residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older and 65 are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license. Those 65 and older do not need a fishing license.
Proof of residency - Valid Missouri Drivers License.
Non-residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license.
Resident - $12 annual (March 1 thru last day of February)
Non-Resident - $42 annual (March 1 thru last day of February)
Daily Permit - $7 (midnight to midnight)
Report Violations - Poachers
In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.